Known as Lu Ban rulers, they're named for a historical Chinese architect/builder who lived during the Zhou Dynasty (roughly 2,500 years ago). What differentiates these tapes is that dimensions thought to be auspicious by Feng Shui practitioners (mirroring Western golden ratio believers) are marked in red.
The thinking is that objects ought to be built or placed in space to these red dimensions. Go with the black dimensions and, well, you're taking your chances.
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